Over the last two weeks, students have been canvassing UNBC, seeking signatures to be elected to Senate and the Board of Governors. The students running for election to these campus institutions deserve your attention and are our representatives to the university, where many of the decisions that affect students most are made. These candidates will be seeking your vote in the coming weeks, and they’ll be coming to you with promises of how they will make this school a better place. Listen to them, but ask them about the issues that you’re most worried about and how they plan to address the issues that affect you.
The Senate is where decisions are made regarding academic life at UNBC. Recently, the Senate has focused on changes to different courses and degree programs, as well as several changes to scholarships that are offered to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Beyond the Senate is the Senate committees, which do most of the legwork in changing policies. Our student Senators have positions on each of these committees, which focus on areas as varied as course descriptions, to determining when classes are offered during the week, to how students are admitted to the school. Senate determines our relations with other universities and the partnerships we have around the world, and the Senate has a hand in determining how our tuition and other revenues are spent in the school.
The Board of Governors (BOG) is one of the decision-making bodies for the university, responsible for financial matters and university policy. Many decisions are made in collaboration with the university Senate as well. Being a member of the Board of Governors gives an interesting insight into the high-level decisions that are made at the university, affecting day-to-day activities and future plans for the school. There is only one representative for undergraduate students (and one for graduate students), so you bring a very important voice to the room.
The BOG only meets every 3-4 months, but the meetings run from 9am to 3pm and it is very important that you attend all meetings. You will also be placed on one of the BOG Committees (Governance, Finance and Audit, or Human Resources) which meets two days before each Board Meeting, for about 2 hours. There is a lot of material to read before each meeting, but it makes your job in the meeting a lot easier if you spend the time closely reviewing each agenda item in advance! It can also be intimidating to speak up in meetings, but all the BOG members truly do value the opinions and perspectives of the student representatives, so don’t let your nerves keep you from speaking your mind! Overall, it is an incredible learning opportunity and you play an important part in shaping UNBC’s future.
Find out how this year’s crop of candidates plan to represent students’ needs and respond to the issues important to students as a collective. Our current Senators and Board of Governor representatives have worked together to pursue greater student involvement in the decision-making process, and have opened more opportunities for the student body. Working together, the Student Senators made sure that changes to course and degree requirements were simplified to ensure the changes benefit students as well as faculty, and our student Senators have been doing important work at the committee level to protect our interests. But we should not be judging our Senate candidates based on past work, and should be prepared to give new candidates our time and a chance to prove themselves as representatives.
Give these candidates the time to speak out and make sure you take the time to vote.